Sunday, March 29, 2020

Things I'm Grateful for during the Pandemic - Sewing Edition

A couple of days ago, I posted things I was grateful for to my IG account. I did this because I truly believe that things don't change in your situation until you change.  So while the president has decided that staying at home should end in about 2 weeks, I believe I will be here a little longer than that because the Governors of NY and NJ have different ideas.

As I was hemming my Simplicity Flame Topper, I realized that I had quite a few things to be grateful for sewing wise.  So this is the Sewing Edition of my IG post.

I'm grateful for ~

Broadly I'm grateful for a fully stocked sewing cave, specifically...
1. All the fabric I've bought and stored over the years
2. Notions and buttons bought and stored
3. That I'm obsessive about thread colors and have stored all the colors
4. My Wawak thread chart that I've used to buy all the colors
5. Working sewing machines and sergers
6. That the electricity is still working so I can sew away
7. That the internet is on so I can write blog posts and communicate with my sewing friends.
8. For my pattern stash - cause I own a lot of patterns so can make whatever my mind dreams up
9. For Amazon that's still delivering - yeah I ordered some sewing related products the other day.
10. I'm especially grateful for all of you continuing to read my blog and conversate with me and others!

But mostly I'm grateful that I'm still here, still able to sew, in good health and practicing #sewstayhome.

So tell me...what are you grateful for...sewing edition! This is the Question of the talk back to me! always more later!  

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Simplicity 8687 in a Panel Print

How about some sewing? I'm finally adjusting to being home, realizing I'm probably going to be here for at least two months because the rates of infection are rising in the NY/NJ area. So I finally finished the topper and I like it as much as I do the first oneI even wore the original to work before the Coronavirus shut everything down. The ease of wear and great details pretty much insured that I would make it again.

I bought these panels from Fabric Mart right before Spring 2019 Sew Camp and picked them up when we visited the store.

These panels looked different online. I thought the panels were half circles (as pictured above) so was surprised when I laid it out and they were full on starbursts. Which is why it took a little longer to figure out how to use this panel print.

What distinguishes this topper is the panel print layout. I laid the pattern pieces out several times before I got the starburst to lay in the most appealing places. I wanted to avoid a full starburst directly on my backside or an unflattering spot on the front of me.

Supply List ~
2 Panels of the 4 I bought from Fabric Mart
5 - 1" white buttons from Pacific Trimmings
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller

There are no new construction techniques in this one.  Actually I put the first one together better than this one. I was a little too lax and had to fix some mistakes.

Here are some special details ~

The stripe on the collar was cut from the border on the selvedge edge of the fabric

After I put the label in I covered that seam with some of the blue border stripe so the seam would be finished.

I also added some topstitching to the collar to help it lay flat. Those are the only design changes incorporated in this make.

Finally a few pictures ~

The main difference between this one and the first one is that I pressed the collar flat and open so it has a notched collar appearance. There are also fewer buttons on the front of this one. Finally the adjustment I made to the pattern shoulder is working. I'm not really a drop shouldered kinda woman.
I'm blessed that during this time of quarantine I can take pictures on the front porch. I will probably move to the front walk as the trees bloom more. 

This is the second garment from the cut pile. I have a few more pieces to sew from the cut pile before I start sewing the garments in my "Love Chicos" wardrobe. I've also added fabric for two Myosotis to be cut too. I'm finding that I really like wearing my Myosotis dresses at home and don't feel overdressed at all.

One more note ~
There have been several requests made in the comments section of blog posts for me to address making masks for hospitals. However, there is so much information available on the internet and social media that if you're interested in this you should either google, check Facebook or Instagram.  A simple search will give you all the information you need. I really don't have anything else to add to this conversation.

I hope you're all safe, washing your hands and if you have a stay at home order in effect...staying home! always more later!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Slow Sewing During a Pandemic

I've been home since March 12th. I'm staying home, hoping to flatten the curve as the number of infected people in the state of NY and NJ has risen, along with the death toll. I'm blessed that I can work from home and continue to be paid, since I work for a company that has always had a work from home policy.

Actually, I've only worked four days a week in NYC for the last four years...always working from home on Fridays.  So I thought I would have no problem adjusting to staying home. I prefer to stay home, secure in the sewing cave, stitching away. But it's different when you HAVE to stay home.

If you're reading this from a place in the US that isn't stressing stay at home to flatten the curve, and you believe it's not coming your way...oooookkkayy! But viruses don't care about political affiliations, whether or not you like our present president, or whether you believe this is a hoax.  Viruses run on their own time table and courses and for your sake, I hope it doesn't come to you. However, seeing the evidence of what's happened and is continuing to happen across Europe, I would bet on the side of caution and realize it's probably coming.

That diversion was to say that 10 days into staying at home I'm struggling more than I thought I would. I thought I would sleep until 8, get up and get dressed, have some breakfast and then head to the basement to work.  Here's my set-up.

Then around 6pm, I would shut down, swivel around and start sewing. I will tell you that never happened...not one day.
- I started in the basement on Monday and Tuesday and even sewed some afterwards but not as much as I thought I would.

- Wednesday I worked on my laptop from the comfort of my bed, never got dressed and no sewing.  

- Thursday I worked a little upstairs and a little downstairs, managing to change out of my pjs but no sewing.

- While Friday I couldn't drag myself out of bed before 11 BUT I had my laptop open to check on things. I ended up working until 7 to make up for oversleeping and not sewing at all.

I was looking forward to Saturday and Sunday to just sew but I've actually done very little. It seems staying home because you WANT TO and staying home because you HAVE TO are two totally different things.

This is where I am with the topper:

I still have to topstitch the front and hand stitch the hem.  Make buttonholes & sew on buttons and remove some hand stitching I did to the collar that's bothering me when I put the topper on. So not finished and no pictures taken.

It's not that I don't want to sew. I still have plenty of ideas and am looking forward to making the next two pieces in the cut pile. It's just I haven't quite adjusted yet to HAVING to stay home OR the unknown.

It's the unknown that's playing with my head right now.  Will my family and I be safe? Because two of my daughters are considered essential and have to go to work everyday.  Will my grandchildren be adversely affected by this? What will life be like whenever I can physically go back to my job? I had another worry - how long will this last? Well right now, I know I'm home until May.  All of early spring will be experienced from looking out the windows or my brief walks around the neighborhood.

So since I can only be honest...this is my post for today. I know I wanted to be a source of distraction but I'm struggling. And I want to say to any other sewists struggling, you're not alone.  I've pretty much gotten off IG because all of the positivity in the posts seem to be accusing me of not being positive enough...when honestly I'm trying not to curl up in a ball and just cry.

Now I know this will pass. I know I will adjust. I know I will learn to sew in the time of Corvid-19. I just didn't know I'd have to fight to get there... always more later!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

12 Pieces to Make a Wardrobe

I saw this ad on Instagram.  Yes, I sometimes click on the ads because they've been curated to things I'm interested in. Then again I'm the person who watches the commercials on TV too.  And to me the best part of the September Vogue is all of those pretty print ads. So I guess I've been conditioned over time to enjoy the advertisements.

Anyway, this Chicos ad had 12 pieces to make a wardrobe of 24 outfits.  The 12 garments were:

1.  The Statement Jacket
2.  A Sweater (there's was a metallic v-neck sweater) but I'm generalizing it.
3.  The Crop Jean - again I'm generalizing and just going with jean
4.  White Linen Shirt
5.  The striped crop pant
6.  The Cool Blue Sweater
7.  The Ruana Wrap
8.  The White Jean - thankfully I own a pair that I love!
9.  The Denim Midi Skirt
10. The Tank
11. The Long Denim Shirt
12. The Bridgette Ankle

This is a great jumping off point to manage the things I'm presently sewing for spring. However, after thinking about the Chicos list versus what I actually wear, I made a few changes.  Here's my version of the 12 pieces.

- The Statement Jacket
I've cut out Simplicity 8687 in a patchwork denim. I will use this as the basis of my wardrobe. It's a great jumping off point!

- A Sweater
I'm not really a sweater girl and will be changing some of the sweaters here to tops. But for this one, I'm using my lt. blue Pembroke sleeveless cowl neck which is in my cut pile. Linking to my black one for reference.

- A Crop Jean
Seriously I ain't wearing crop jeans but I do have a pair of RTW jeans that I love so I'm using something in my closet to fill this requirement.

- White Linen Shirt
I have been wanting a white linen shirt. I've made two white shirts that I wear a lot but I've wanted one to transition into spring. I already own the fabric.  So I will be adding a white one to my cut pile. Just have to determine if I want to use my TNT pattern or another one.

- Stripe Crop Pant
Seriously why do they have so many cropped pants in this wardrobe!? *LOL* I'm going to replace this with a Cashmerette Holyoke Skirt. I have some blue & white stripe suiting that I can use to make a shorter version. I have two that I wore quite a bit last spring - another one will work in this wardrobe.

- Cool Blue Sweater
In my cut pile is a shades of blue open weave knit cut from Simplicity 8059. I love a cardigan look and will wear it much more than a sweater. I've linked to another lacey look cardigan made from the Simplicity pattern. This will work great with other pieces in the wardrobe.

- The Ruana Wrap
This piece isn't really me. I love the drama of throwing one over my shoulders but I never actually wear one. I think Imma substitute my RTW short sleeve navy cardigan here.

- The White Jean
I have a RTW pair that I love! So I will use them for this wardrobe.

- The Denim Midi
I have a denim Vogue 1247 that I made in 2015, that will work with the wardrobe. 

- The Tank
I own a bunch of white and navy RTW tanks. I've never successfully sewn a knit tank and it's been too convenient to purchase them. I'm back and forth about whether I should attempt to sew one or just use what I have. I will probably go with what I have.

- The Long Denim Skirt
The denim stripe maxi Cashmerette Holyoke skirt that I made last spring works here. Almost all of the tops in this wardrobe will go with it and I can wear my RTW short sleeve cardigans with it too.

- The Bridgette Ankle
This refers to another crop pant specific to Chicos. I'm just not a pant person when it gets warmer.  So I'm going to substitute a Deer & Doe Myosotis maxidress here. I've been wanting one of my hacked button front versions in a lightweight chambray denim. That would definitely work.

I want to add one more top here.  I want to make a woven version of the Adrienne Blouse or the Adriana Dress cut to top length. Both patterns are from the Friday Pattern Company. I can make it in the pinstripe I'm using for the Holyoke Skirt which will make the two pieces an outfit.  I saw this one at Ann Taylor's site and I really want to copy it.

Since the Simplicity jacket, the Pembroke sleeveless cowl neck sweater and the Simplicity cardigan are already cut they will be sewn soon. I need to cut the linen white shirt, the denim button front Myosotis dress and the shorter white pinstripe Cashmerette Holyoke skirt along with the Adriana/Adrienne top.

This gives a direction to my cut pile. Also giving me a comprehensive wardrobe to start spring sewing. I'm excited. I was excited about my cut pile before because there are so many good things in it...I'm even more excited now! 

As each piece is constructed I will refer back to this post. I will also start my own clothing rack to share what I'm working on with both RTW and memade. This kicks off my spring sewing and I'm kinda excited! *LOL* always more later!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


I've written and deleted this post several times because I wasn't striking the right tone.  Basically this is what I want to say...since I'm working from home for the near future I will be blogging. Not as an information source for the virus, there are many other sites available to you on the Internet or TV for that, but as a relief from everything that is currently going on.

I will try to keep to a posting schedule of every 2-3 days which means that quite a few of these will be process posts. If you're looking for a little escape and a burrowing into our hobby, I'm here to share that journey with you. I'm here to make our self quarantines a little easier, to ease some of our fears, and to share a little sewing joy.

In front of my computer working from home and sewing late into the evening!

There are several of my sewing sistahs and brothers who are blogging more now too.  If you can, please follow along, leave a comment if possible, or just take a moment to read. There is so much information being thrown at us through other sources that I'd like this blog to be a calming that's how I'm moving forward.

Hope you'll be along for the ride... always more later! 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

An Oldie but Goodie

I own a lot of sewing books.  I started collecting pre-Internet, when books were the way to learn new sewing techniques. Because I'm preconditioned to look for an answer in a book first, I've kept every one I've bought.

Grace (wzrdreams on IG) was sharing in her stories on IG, some of the patterns she picked up at the Pattern Swap during MPD on March 7th. One of the patterns she showed, a Vogue Wardrobe Pattern from the early 2000's, I knew I owned. So I went scrambling through all the patterns to see if I could find it.

Then I found this...

...and I went looking for the book that accompanied these patterns. Sandra Betzina's, "No Time to Sew" published by Rodale Press in 1997.  

See I was looking for a simple vest pattern and it was in the book/patterns. Sometimes you have to kick it back to the oldie but goodie patterns. BTW, I didn't find the pattern I was originally looking for! *LOL*

Supplies ~
2 yards of a cable knit purchased from Jomars in Philadelphia
6 yards of black satin bias binding
A remnant of black faux leather
One 1" button

Pattern Alterations ~
I made a few alterations to make this more wearable for me.
- I lengthened the front and back pieces by 4" - 2" right under the arm and 2" in front of the
  second set of notches

- I added 1" to the side seam of the back piece and straightened out the curve

- I wanted a more boxy looking vest
- I added a 1/2" to the side seam of the front vest piece
- The pivot and slide technique was done to the back piece to give me an extra 4" at the hipline.

Design Alterations ~
I omitted the lining and the pockets suggested for the vest. There was also a batting suggestion where it was quilted between the fashion fabric and the lining. Not what I was looking for in this vest. I wanted a simple layering piece that was warm enough to work for winter and early spring. 

After cutting the pieces out and constructing them, I added bias binding to all the seams.

The next thing was whether to add a button and buttonhole to the front. I didn't want a conventional buttonhole and I used to put Faced Buttonholes on garments a lot back in the 90s.  Since this was a 90s pattern I decided to use a technique from the same time. I haven't made one in years, so I reviewed the process using my Lois Ericson book...

I made a sample first...

After I got a reasonable sample, I decided to go for it.

Mark the back of the vest and then add
basting around the markings

Cut a hole in the center and then trim around 
the edges, finally cut into each corner

Next I add Steam-A-Seam 2 to the back

o  The next step was to add the pleather pieces.
o  I cut 2-4" by 3" wide pieces of the pleather then pressed each one flat.
o  I placed both pieces on the back and pressed it down so the Steam-A-Seam would hold.
o  Flipped it over and made an adjustment to the lips of the faced buttonhole.
o  Added some pins to the surrounding area before stitching it down

This is the buttonhole after it was completed and it's just okay. I removed some of the extra stitching around it and left it. I use to make so many of these and realize I will need a little more practice to gain the finer points of the skill back.  It will do. It's not perfect and once buttoned you will never notice.

I decided to take a picture of the vest on the dress form and call it. I have a cut pile and moved on. I'm in the mood to sew and pictures take so much time. I will wear it with my black shirt, a pair of black jeans, and my black high top sneakers. 

Conclusion ~
Sometimes an oldie but goodie really works! Sometimes you need to throw it back - even if it is 23 years - to get the look you want. This is the first finished garment from my cut pile. The next post is about some wardrobe sewing I want to do for spring with garments from the cut pile. After that there will be more sewing from my cut pile.

Due to the Corvid-19 outbreak and how many people are infected in the NYC area, along with the request by the Governor and Mayor of NYC for companies to have employees work from home...I'm now working from home. I'm home until March 30th. The company is re-assessing I'm working and I'm sewing while I'm practicing social distance. 

I may even start sewing some in the evenings since I've gained back three commuting hours. Because of that I just want to sew...not take pictures...crop pictures...edit pictures and download them to blog posts. Just sew. So hopefully there will be more blog posts in the future. always more later!

Saturday, March 07, 2020

A Week in Review - Week Five

It's the end of the first week in March and Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow! O-M-G! It's been such a mild winter here in the tri-state area that I'm so ready for spring! Sooooo ready! 

I can tell the weather is changing because my sewjo is low. I always seem to feel this way when the seasons change and I'm just riding with it. I had no plans to sew this weekend, was going to do a family thing, but coronavirus changed travel plans so I'm home in the sewing cave.

Another travel change due to coronavirus, I'm not heading to Europe in the spring. My travel companion and I have flexible vacation schedules so we decided to wait until fall to make the trip. I'm sure everything will be resolved by then and Europe will need my tourist dollars even more.


Since it's cold here one day and warm the next, I've just been cutting out garments to sew for March and April.  Here's my cut pile:

There's a lot of blue in there! Which not only is the color of the year but is my favorite color.


February Totals ~

Now that I look back at February, it was a pretty busy month.  
      * I did the 2-day Sew-In at Urban Sewciety
      * Went to the Dapper Dan Talk at FIT with sewing friends
      * Had a family party
      * Saw the "Black Lives Matter" Display at FIT with the same sewing friends and 
         then again with a work friend.

An Ankara Suit that reminds me of something Beyonce would wear!

Madame CJ Walker display - Netflix series premieres on March 20th

A sewing section that featured designers, sewing machines and notions

Black dolls - that American Girl doll resided at my house in the 90s

Made from bottle caps - it was stunning!

I blogged a few makes from January.  I was sewing faster than I was taking pictures ~

My TNT shirts and my Tester Version of the Fuller Cardigan

Also blogged were my February Makes ~

A sleeveless Pembroke tunic with a coordinating Fuller Cardigan
A Lace Shirt and a Simplicity 8687

This of course brings me to my Fabric In and Out Totals ~
If I wanted to buy every piece of yardage that wasn't nailed down last year, I have no desire to do so this year. I just want to sew from my collection. I've even taken to deleting fabric emails without looking at them (no I don't want to get off their mailing lists), and I've set some personal goals regarding fabric buying.

February Fabric In:  
8 yards from Urban Sewciety
(In all honesty, I won a $40 gift certificate that I felt should be used that weekend! LOL!)

February Fabric Out:
10.5 yards for the garments pictured above

My YTD in total is 15 yards and my YTD out total is 14 yards. So I'm doing good but I can do better. I plan to do better!

The Right Tool for the Job ~
While working on my lace shirt, I found cutting the fabric out to be challenging.  I went through several pairs of scissors to get the pair that made cutting the thick lace easiest.

I tried my Kai scissors which usually work for EVERYTHING! But in this instance had challenges getting through the heavy fabric. A lightweight pair of Ginghers, an older pair of Wise and finally touched my silver 8" Ginghers which did the job! Two weeks after the shirt was done, I was still sweeping up black lace bits.

That's my weekly and end of month update. Today I'm sitting in the sewing cave, getting ready to alter a pattern and cut out one more garment. I may or may not sew today...probably will it's going to be a minute before a finished garment shows up here on the blog. always more later!


Related Posts with Thumbnails